FANHS National Museum opens

On October 8, 2016, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) opened the doors of its National Museum in Stockton, Calif. (337 E. Weber Avenue, 209.932.9037). The Stockton chapter of FANHS was instrumental in realizing this dream, which has taken some 20 years to come to fruition. More than 400 people came on opening day. I was among the hungry and excited.

The museum is located in the old Newberry building in Stockton, Calif.
The museum is located in the old Newberry building in Stockton, Calif.
Traditional Marie Clare outfit and a First Filipino Regiment uniform. Note the volcano emblem on the sleeve.
Traditional Maria Clara outfit and a First Filipino Regiment uniform. Note the volcano emblem on the sleeve.

Stockton was chosen as the museum site because many Filipinos came to this farming town to work, and at one time the city boasted the most Filipinos outside of the Philippines. Stockton was the natural choice. One of the prominent exhibits included Filipino American farm workers.

Farm worker's simple lifestyle.
Farm worker’s simple lifestyle.
A day in the life of a farm worker.
A day in the life of a farm worker.
Filipino American agricultural life, 1920-1950.
Filipino American agricultural life, 1920-1950.
A map of Filipino American farm workers' movement within California. Stockton is the epicenter.
A map of Filipino American farm workers’ movement within California. Stockton is the epicenter.
The farm workers' tools, otherwise known as "the devil's tool."
The farm workers’ tools, otherwise known as “the devil’s tools.”
The farm workers' "appliances."
The farm workers’ “appliances.”
A typical view of a farm worker's camp.
A typical view of a farm worker’s camp.
Letty Perez's grandmother's organ.
Letty Perez’s grandmother’s organ.
The immigrant's suitcase - full of dreams and memories of home.
The immigrant’s suitcase – full of dreams and memories of home.

I congratulated Anita Bautista and Letty Perez, two visionary and hardworking Filipinas who are long-time members of the Stockton chapter. I also finally met in person Peter Jamaro, author of Growing Up Brown and Vanishing Filipino Americans. We caught up at Papa Urb’s Grill (337 E. Weber Avenue, 209.227.8144), a Filipino restaurant two doors down from the museum.

Anita Bautista and me.
Anita Bautista and me. Anita helped me ensure that my Stockton sections of my novel were accurate.
Selfie with Peter Jamaro at Papa Urb's Grill.
Selfie with Peter Jamaro at Papa Urb’s Grill.

The museum features “Singgalot: The Ties that Bind, Filipinos in America, from Colonial Subjects to Citizens,” which was a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution. Eighteen of the 30 panels were on display at the FANHS National Museum. Below are my photos from my first (of many to come) visits to the museum.

First panel of Singgalot.
First panel of Singgalot.
This pictorial timeline tells the story of the Filipinos in the United States.
This pictorial timeline tells the story of the Filipinos in the United States.
First landing of Filipinos in America.
First landing of Filipinos in America – in Morro Bay, Calif.
The fate of the Philippines in the hands of the U.S.
The fate of the Philippines in the hands of the U.S.
American soldiers in the Philippines.
American soldiers in the Philippines.
The bigger picture of the U.S. moving into the Philippines as colonizer.
The bigger picture of the U.S. moving into the Philippines as colonizer.
The 1900 U.S. presidential election hinged partly on imperialist and anti-imperialist stances.
The 1900 U.S. presidential election hinged partly on imperialist and anti-imperialist stances.
Harper's Weekly covered the "insurrection" of Filipino revolutionaries opposing U.S. colonization.
Harper’s Weekly covered the “insurrection” of Filipino revolutionaries opposing U.S. colonization.
The 1904 World's Fair depicted Filipinos as savages in need of civilization by the U.S.
The 1904 World’s Fair depicted Filipinos as savages in need of civilization by the U.S.
One of the first group of immigrants to come to America were the pensionados.
One of the first group of immigrants to come to America were the pensionados.
The first wave of Filipinos to arrive included my father.
The first wave of Filipinos to arrive included my father.
The first wave of immigrants took jobs in the food service industry and in farm labor.
The first wave of immigrants took jobs in the food service industry and in farm labor.
During the Depression, Filipinos were discriminated against for supposedly taking away jobs from the white male workforce.
During the Depression, Filipinos were discriminated against for supposedly taking away jobs from the white male workforce.
Filipinos joining the U.S. military.
Filipinos joining the U.S. military.
My father was part of the First All-Filipino Regiment, which saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines.
My father was part of the First All-Filipino Regiment, which saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines.
The second wave of Filipino immigrants.
The second wave of Filipino immigrants.
The third wave of immigrants.
The third wave of immigrants.

And just for fun, a souvenir license plate holder that I didn’t get:

Adobo powered!
Adobo powered!

On a more serious note, this museum is important and must be sustained. It’s a part of U.S. history, so everyone should visit and learn about the Filipino American story. For Filipino Americans, a trek to the FANHS National Museum in Stockton is an important pilgrimage to make.

2 comments on “FANHS National Museum opens

  1. Please send me all your information on the museum, including:
    1) Director or Curator (name and phone and email contact)
    2) Hours of operation and address
    3) Cost of admission
    4) When is or was grand opening for the general public?

    Thanks very much,
    Steve Magagnini
    Senior Writer
    Sacramento Bee
    [email protected]

    • Thanks for your comment, Steve. You can contact the Stockton Chapter of FANHS at [email protected]. The grand opening was Saturday, October 8th. There is another special opening on Saturday, October 29th, but it is invitation only. The address and phone number are 337 E. Weber Avenue, Stockton, 209.932.9037.

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